Truffle Hunting in Soria, Spain
Fourteen culinary teams from around the world along with a group of fantastic judges including Mitsuharu 'Micha' Tsumura of Maido in Lima, Peru, Namae Shinobu of L'Effervescene in Tokyo, Japan, and Sanjeev Kapoor from Mumbai, India journeyed to this remote region of Castile y León for the festival. It wasn't a difficult sell. The best part of the weekend was the truffle hunt we participated in with Javier Lopez Garcia of Encitruf and his truffle dog, Bobby.
Before we headed out for the hunt, Mitsuharu Tsumura of Maido had an opportunity to meet the friendly pig. I'd be happy too if my sole purpose in life was to hunt and eat truffles.
The black Périgord truffle spores begin to form in the spring but they need cold weather to flourish in the rich Iberian soil. The best time to hunt truffles is from December through March. The moment Bobby was released, he exuberantly leapt through the nursery until his nose detected the truffle aroma. He then dug furiously, madly, with an unadulterated joy I wish we could all channel.
But I don't think it was the truffles that excited Bobby the most. What he loved was the attention he received when the hole he created yielded a batch of truffles. Bobby burrowed for love.